A's try to get a win under the sun against Giants

Playing at night hasn't been an issue for the Oakland Athletics this season; it's the matinee affairs that have taken a toll.

The Athletics look to put an end to their afternoon woes when they shoot for a seventh straight win Thursday against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Oakland, which won the first two installments of this series with the Giants at home and recorded a 9-6 victory Wednesday across the bay, is only 8-11 in day games as opposed to a 23-12 mark under the lights. In last night's win Tommy Milone became the fifth straight starter to post a victory even though he was touched for four runs and eight hits in five innings.

San Francisco rallied from a 6-1 deficit, but the Athletics later posted a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth to win for the 11th time in 12 tries.

"It was exhausting," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You get momentum going in the other direction here sometimes and it's hard to stem the tide."

The A's are now a season high-tying eight games over .500 and just two games behind Texas for the AL West lead. Nate Freiman drove in three runs and Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI triple to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

Hoping to keep the Oakland starters on track Thursday will be A.J. Griffin. The A's have won each of Griffin's last three appearances and their starters have tossed seven or more innings in six of the last nine games. Griffin didn't last that long his previous time out, but did get the victory Saturday in an 11-5 romp at Houston.

Griffin was reached for four runs in 5 2/3 innings and pushed his record to 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 starts. Griffin, a right-hander, has prevailed in three of his past four decisions and did not record one in his only start against the Giants in a 4-2 win last June 24, allowing two runs and scattering three hits in six innings of that one.

The A's will return home after Thursday's meeting with the Giants to face the Chicago White Sox for three games over the weekend.

San Francisco will try to salvage the finale of this set with Oakland and has dropped three in row, five of seven and eight of its last 12 games.

Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum continued to struggle and was tagged for six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits and four walks over just 4 1/3 innings of work. He is now 3-5 on the season and has dropped three straight and five of his last six decisions. Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has given up 16 runs in his past three starts and has yielded at least four earned runs in seven outings.

"I left too many pitches up in the zone (and didn't throw) very many pitches down in the zone with runners on," Lincecum said. "I just didn't execute all that well with the fastball."

It didn't help the Giants committed three errors.

Hunter Pence had three hits, including a home run, Brett Pill went deep and both Andres Torres and Marco Scutaro ended with two hits and an RBI for the defending World Series champions, who are even with Colorado at 2 1/2 games behind Arizona for the NL West lead. The D'backs have won three in a row.

San Francisco, which will visit St. Louis for three games this weekend, is still a solid 19-10 at home and 7-3 in the previous 10 as the host. Barry Zito has pitched exceptionally well in front of the home crowd and gets another chance to keep the trend going tonight.

Zito is 3-0 with a 1.38 earned run average in six home starts, but is 0-2 with a 4.64 ERA in the last six trips to the mound. He didn't figure into the decision of a 6-5 win over Colorado on Saturday and allowed four runs in six innings. The left-hander and 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland is 3-3 in 10 starts to go along with a 4.13 ERA.

In six career starts against his former Athletics team, Zito, a three-time All-Star, is 2-4 with a lofty 7.16 earned run average in 32 2/3 innings of work. In 112 starts at the Coliseum, Zito is 51-32 with a 3.77 ERA.

San Francisco has won 11 of the previous 13 home meetings with Oakland and took four of six overall meetings with the A's in 2012.